Entertainment & Arts

UK cities vie to be European Capital of Culture 2023 despite Brexit

A performer in Wroclaw Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A fiery celebration opened Polish city Wroclaw's year as 2016 Capital of Culture

A contest for British cities wishing to become European Capital of Culture 2023 has been launched by the government.

Leeds, Dundee and Milton Keynes have all declared their interest in the title, which two European cities share every year.

The UK was already lined up to host in 2023 before the country voted to leave the European Union in June.

It is not yet known whether the EU will proceed with letting the UK host after Article 50 has been triggered.

However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's announcement suggests it is proceeding under the assumption that a UK city will host the event in 2023.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has launched the search for the UK host city

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: "Celebrating the cultural heritage and innovation in Britain's cities is part of our plan for an outward-looking, globally-minded and dynamic country.

"The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. We want that relationship to reflect the kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy."

Three non-EU cities have held the title in the past - Istanbul in 2010, Stavanger in Norway in 2008 and Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2000.

The UK has previously hosted the European Capital of Culture twice - in Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.

Every year, two cities are designated Capital of Culture by the European Union and organise a series of cultural events. Being chosen can bring increased investment, create jobs and boost the local economy.

The chosen UK city will share the title with a city in Hungary during 2023.

San Sebastian in Spain and Wroclaw in Poland were 2016's cultural capitals, while Aarhus in Denmark and Paphos in Cyprus will share the title in 2017.

The European Capital of Culture scheme is separate from the UK City of Culture, a title which will be taken over by Hull next year.

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